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'Afghan women increasingly adopting cell phones'

'Afghan women increasingly adopting cell phones'

May 22, 2013 - 23:21

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): A late 2012 survey shows some 80 percent of Afghan womeninfo-icon have regular or occasional access to mobile phones, the US Agency for International Development (USAIDinfo-icon) said on Wednesday.

The USAID-funded survey shows a remarkable speed of mobile phone adoption among Afghan women since in 2002 when the first mobile phone license was issued in the country, the agency said in a statement. In addition, 82 percent of those surveyed believe mobile phones improve Afghan women's lives, it said.

The Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) hosted a conference in Kabul on Wednesday.

The aim was to celebrate women’s benefits from recent technological innovation in the Afghan mobile market, the statement said.

The conference featured presentations on mobile technology programs specifically designed for women, such as a distance-learning literacy programme, a family hotline facility, an SMS service for teachers and students to fast-track their progress in educationinfo-icon, and mobile healthinfo-icon applications during pregnancy.

More than 200 women participated, along with representatives from mobile companies, the international donor community, and Afghan and the US government officials, the statement said.

“There are many mobile solutions to common problems Afghan women face. Mobile technology empowers women and provides more access to important information,” – said MOWA Minister Husn Banu Ghazanfar in her opening speech.

Echoing Minister Ghazanfar’s remarks, MCIT Minister Amirzai Sangin emphasized amazing advances in mobile technology this last decade in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

“Today, 88 percent of the population lives within the combined network coverage of the four largest mobile operators: AWCC, Etisalat, MTN and Roshan, “said Sangin.

US Embassy Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs Ambassador Hilda Arellano highlighted the important role the Afghan government’s regulatory framework plays in the increase of women’s access to mobile technology, and urged all conference participants to go further.

“Mobile technology is a powerful tool for progress and development. If used correctly, it can give a voice to the voiceless, vastly expand access.


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